Hoves-Santoro – Round 6.1: Change I

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Dougie Hoves shuffled nervously pushing away a fallen leaf with his the tip of his foot. He was all alone in the graveyard today but still it was a though battle, finding the right words to start talking. Some days it wouldn’t be so hard, some days words would just fly out of his mouth and Dougie wished today was one of those days.

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And so Dougie found himself staring at the big stone in front of him. The stone stared back, cold and expressionless. Dougie focused on his mother’s name, etched in the cold surface of the stone. He read it over and over, trying to summon her with his thoughts.

Sometimes Dougie’s mother Blair would appear to him as she was when he was a kid, a young looking, thin woman with two long light blond pigtails and other times it would be a older version of her, a little more wrinkled, with hair dyed a light green in two braids, smiling as she had always done for him. It was hard then not to feel her love spread around him like a warm embrace he found himself longing for so much, even though he was now a grown man…

Dougie cleared his throat before he began speaking. His voice sounded strange to him in the stillness of the graveyard around him. “Hi mum.” He said simply. There was no answer, only the rustle of the wind in the distant trees. He didn’t let that stop him. “It’s me Dougie. I brought flowers today. I placed some of them over at dad’s too.” He said casting a look over to his father’s grave.

Freddie Hoves had died back when Dougie was still a teenager. For some reason Dougie felt awkward talking to him the way he did with his mum and truth be told he could hardly recall his face when he tried. That saddened him. He hoped the same wouldn’t happen with his mum. Maybe if he came here every week and if he tried to summon the memory of her at least once a day then maybe she would stay with him… Forever…

The sadness overwhelmed him for a moment and he felt the tears pooling in his eyes so he continued talking hoping to escape it. “Things at home are… Well… Not so good…. I wish I married sooner, while you were still here, I might have used your advice.” He smiled weakly at the stone in front of him. “It is hard to define it actually… Our marriage…Sometimes I view it as our new house… All beautiful on the outside but…” He stopped looking for a proper word that didn’t sound too harsh. “…unfinished on the inside.”

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Dougie wished his mother had gotten to to see the beautiful house he and Lysa moved in after they got married. It had a lovely white picked fence and flowers all around it. On the outside it was a dream come true. Often would Dougie catch people staring at in with awe and envy. Inside however there was a completely different story…

“We could have it finished on the inside, the house I mean…. Not the marriage… ” Dougie continued speaking. “But we are out of money I guess and Lysa doesn’t want cheap, secondhand furniture, she wants the expensive stuff… French is her latest wish…” Dougie sighed. “And so we live in a house filled only with the essentials… Lysa hates it… I see it in her eyes every time she walks in.  And I hate that it is making her unhappy, I really do, there is nothing I wouldn’t do to bring a smile on her face but nothing works and I can’t help feeling totally worthless. And I think everything just got worse when Luther arrived…”

Luther Prentiss was Dougie’s best friend. They met in school and had been inseparable ever since. Even now when they are both fully grown adults they still find the time to spend with each other. So when one evening Luther showed up at Dougie and Lysa’s doorstep saying how had quit his job at the hospital and left his mother’s house Dougie could not just send him away.

He and Lysa did have an unused room on the second floor, they meant to use it as an office space but now it was as empty as the rest of the house. Luther was ecstatic with gratitude and Dougie imagined it would all be a dream come true, him living with his two best friends… It didn’t quite turn out that way…

Lysa was furious Dougie had allowed Luther to stay with them indefinitely without him consulting her first. She had yelled at him so much that night but even she had to admit that it would have been awkward to take back that invitation now and so Luther stayed but Lysa wasn’t exactly happy with it.

Luther of course offered to pay rent and while Dougie wasn’t exactly thrilled to take money from his friend he hoped at least Lysa would accept so they can use that money to buy the much needed furniture but Lysa declined the offer.

“I wasn’t so proud.” Dougie told his mother with a chuckle. “The two of us went and bought an old TV and a used gaming console. I left my old one to Jun’s kids. Lysa wouldn’t play with me anyways but now that I have Luther around all the time I am quite happy to get back to gaming…”

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“Lysa doesn’t quite approve. But these days she hardly approves of anything I do…” Dougie stopped. It felt bad talking this way about his wife. He loved Lysa with all his heart, he truly did. But he needed to get those thing off of his chest and who better to talk to then his mum?

“You know she doesn’t really cook… Like ever… And she won’t let Luther do it either because he is our ‘guest’. So the other day I wanted to surprise her with making dinner… Well it didn’t go very well…” Dougie said remembering how  fast their cheap stove caught on fire.

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He flinched only for a one brief second before finding the extinguisher and putting the thing down. The stove didn’t survive and  the counters were a bit schorched but nothing and no one else was hurt. Lysa of course got an excuse for another shouting match, yelling how he could have killed all three of them… Dougie was sure that could never happen, he reacted rather quickly but still his cooking career ended there and they settled for pizza that night and almost every other that followed…

Dougie didn’t mind it as much, he liked pizza and there were enough varieties for him not not to ever get bored and besides the delivery girl was cute… He was even sure she was flirting with him a bit but he hadn’t told anyone that, and he most definitely wouldn’t tell his mother so he changed the topic…

“It isn’t just the cooking or Luther however that causes the most trouble to us… It’s my job as well… Well the absence of it…”

Before Dougie married he worked as a self-employed gardener working in a small garden his mother started and had since grew much larger then originally intended. The money he got from selling the fruits and vegetables grown there had given Dougie a pretty nice allowance.

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So when he and Lysa moved into their lovely, new house the backyard was converted into a large open space ready for Dougie’s brand new garden but to this day Dougie hadn’t planted a single thing there.

“It’s just not the same gardening without you and Hannah or Freddie helping me..”  Dougie sighed. “But I am done living like this… I really want us both to be happy so today, before I got here I went down to the city hall and registered as a self-employed inventor….”

Dougie had always liked to dabble with scrap and make things, in fact he liked it more then gardening, so he was sure it would make a better career, he was sure his mother would agree if she could…

“Well the problem is we can’t afford all the tools and even a proper inventing table for that matter… But that is okay, I have that figured out as well…” Dougie told his mum.  “I have all the space, and all the tools I need back at our old place… And I am there pretty often you know… And not just because I miss a nice home cooked meal every once and a while…” He added with a chuckle. “I have dinner with Junior and Hannah, play games with the kids…Recently I have started giving Freddie self-defense lessons, she is pretty eager to learn and Haley’s always watching, when she is a bit older I guess I’ll spar with her too…”

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“I really wish you could see them mum… They are all growing up so fast… And I still seem them as those great kids we used to babysit… But Haley’s in school now and Kerry and Freddie go to school dances… And Freddie has a boyfriend!” Dougie exclaimed. “I almost forgot to tell you that one… He came by the other day and I got to meet him… His name is Aenys Targeryen… Maybe you know his father… That big fencing star…. Well he is dating our Freddie… And they seem rather happy. It’s weird… But I am very glad for her all the same and I know you would be to.”

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Dougie stopped talking for a while his emotions overwhelming him… It just wasn’t fair… His mum being gone… Not seeing him get married, or her grandchildren growing up… It sucked there had to be a world without her in it….

He wanted to wrap up the story before he started crying. Sadly it was how most of their conversations nowadays ended.  “Well anyway…” He said in a voice so unlike his own… “I go to their garage after dinner and work from there, I blast some music on and work… Now that I am registered as an inventor I’m going to try and sell some of my stuff… And make some money for us… I hope Lysa would approve and we will be happy again… Wish me luck mum.” He concluded touching the light stone of her grave.

As he closed his eyes for one split second Dougie could actually feel a light touch on his hand. When he opened them again there was nothing and no one around him… He sighed and turned around ready to go to his half finished home….

/*So I am finally back! I’ll try to keep up some relatively normal pace with not much time between chapters, wish me luck 🙂  

Dougie’s mum died last round. You can read about her on the People of Sunset Valley page, where you can also read about the rest of Dougie’s family which also has their own story found here.

Regarding my newest story , that one is going pretty well for now, I have two chapters published and the third almost ready, I hope to keep the pace of publishing a new chapter once a week /. That’s all, thank you for reading, hope you liked it. :)*/ 

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